Talent shortage in Caymans: This 25-year-old Big 4 Auditor reveals how Cayman Islands is hiring expats for Audit and Accounting roles
Why should a Finance Professional from India look at the Cayman Islands for opportunities? Looks like the perks are several, starting with no income tax and vacancies for Audit, and Accounting roles.
- The Financial Services industry is the largest employer in the Cayman Islands, with around 7,000 registered businesses.
- Due to a scarcity of talent, major companies in the territory are hiring expats for Audit and Accounting roles.
- Rujan Dave, Senior Auditor at a Big 4 firm, shares the ideal job-hunting process, and the perks of working in the Cayman Islands.
Why did you decide to move to the Cayman Islands specifically?
After 3 and a half years of working at one of the Big 4 firms in India, I started looking for opportunities outside the country.
All of the Big 4 firms have operations in countries/territories that are considered tax havens. They don’t have to pay any corporate taxes or payroll taxes in the Cayman Islands.
That is why my focus was specifically on the Caribbean, including the Bahamas, Bermuda, Aruba Islands, and the Cayman Islands. The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory with its elected Legislative Assembly.
Some of the biggest incentives for moving to the Cayman Islands were as follows:
- The infrastructure of the country: The Cayman is one of the most developed territories in the Caribbean.
- Healthcare is remarkable: Your employer must pay for your health insurance. (This one was an important criterion for me.)
- The culture: Expats from almost 150 countries live and work in the Cayman. This brings a great opportunity to meet people from different lifestyles and grow your personal and professional network.
- It is closer to the United States: The Cayman Islands is probably an hour’s flight away from Miami, Florida.
- The islands as a whole are very safe with a low crime rate.
- And most importantly it’s a tax haven, which meant I wouldn’t have to pay any income taxes.
Are there many job opportunities in the Cayman Islands’ financial services sector?
The population of the Cayman Islands was estimated to be over 78,500, as per the government's population report for 2022. A large portion of its inhabitants is expats.
Apart from the Big 4s, many large international organizations have their headquarters in the Cayman Islands.
Just open LinkedIn, and search for jobs in the Cayman Islands, you’d see some good 20-25 vacancies. Most of these are family businesses, legal firms, banks, and other smaller companies.
Since the number of nationals in the Islands is negligible, sometimes companies need to bring in expats from around the world to meet the demands.
Indian Finance Professionals are primarily hired in the Finance and Accounting sector for Auditing roles. They are quite in demand in the Cayman, I would say. There is also a significant requirement for accountants, lawyers, fund accountants, compliance officers, risk managers, and investment bankers.
Consultants are in huge need by family businesses.
Your clients would not necessarily be from the Cayman Islands but from different parts of the world, such as the Bahamas, the United States, and Canada.
Working in the Cayman Islands would certainly give you international exposure, plus imagine how nice it would look on your Instagram.
How can I get a job in the Cayman Islands from India as a Finance Professional?
If you decide to move to the Cayman Islands, which is a small island halfway across the globe, you won’t just look at the job role or the company.
You would be making a huge change, in terms of your career, culture, and living conditions. Taking the pros and cons into consideration and doing thorough research is a must.
In my case, I first started searching for different companies in the Cayman that would suit my criteria. I looked at a lot of relevant Youtube videos as well.
Another crucial step was connecting with people on LinkedIn who were already working in the Cayman Islands. I asked them some basic yet vital questions;
- What it’s like living in the Cayman Islands?
- What is the work culture like?
- Are the infrastructure and healthcare in the Cayman good?
- And most importantly, what qualifications would I require to have, to land a job in the Cayman?
The responses I received were quite valuable. This is when the power of networking comes into play.
The most useful method of finding a job in the Cayman Islands would be through LinkedIn. It is the safest way to go about your job searching process as companies share their details publicly.
The second method is searching on Google. Find out what companies are there in the Cayman Islands on Google, go to their websites and look for the ‘Careers’ section.
They regularly post job vacancies on their websites. Go through it and apply to your preferred job role. If your profile matches their requirements they would reach out to you. You can also opt for a recruitment agency.
There are plenty of good agencies such as:
Reach out to them, and they’ll find something suitable for you after assessing your educational/work background, ambitions and so on.
If you have 15 years of experience, I suggest you reach out to the recruiter/HR Manager on LinkedIn and send your resume directly.
What professional Finance qualifications are recognized in the Cayman Islands?
Having a professional qualification is not a requirement to work in the Cayman Islands, most of the time.
However, qualifications such as CPA US, ACCA, or Chartered Accountancy from India, South Africa, UK would give you a boost.
Since you are from a different country, it would be harder for your recruiter to assess your skill sets based on your college degree alone. An internationally recognized professional qualification would assure your employers that you are right for that job.
Companies in the Cayman Islands put up detailed job descriptions on job portals and their websites.
It is suggested that you look through the job description carefully and see whether it would match your skill sets or not.
Can expats who are freshers apply for a Finance job in the Cayman Islands?
For an expat, finding a job in the Cayman Islands as a fresher would be relatively harder.
The government has made it mandatory for the employer to pay for your work visa/permit. And as you know, they are quite expensive.
Considering the employer will pay a significant amount for an employee, it is only reasonable for them to prefer someone with experience.
I would say a minimum of three years of experience would be ideal, then again it depends on the company and the role you are applying for.
What kind of salary can a Finance Professional expect in the Cayman Islands?
A Finance Professional with 2 to 6 years of experience can expect a salary range of 50,000 USD to 100,000 USD. But it hugely depends on your experience and the roles you are applying for.
Some employers pay in US Dollars, and some in Caymanian Dollars. The Caymanian Dollar have more currency value than the USD.
Companies don’t usually disclose their salary on their job posts, but here are some estimated salaries for different job roles collated from various sources.
Accountants - A person working as an Accountant in the Cayman Islands typically earns around 44,000 KYD (lowest) to 74,000 KYD (highest) per year.
Fund Accountants – A Fund Accountant in the Cayman Islands typically earns around 78,000 KYD (lowest) to 100,000 KYD (highest) per year.
Compliance Officers - A Compliance Officer in the Cayman Islands typically earns around 29,100 KYD (lowest) to 47,100 KYD (highest) per year.
Risk Managers - A Risk Manager in the Cayman Islands typically earns around 33,600 KYD (lowest) to 119,700 KYD (highest) per year.
Investment Bankers - Investment Bankers in the Cayman Islands typically earn around 31,400 KYD (lowest) to 97,600 KYD (highest) per year.
Please note that the estimated salaries were obtained from World Salaries, PayScale, and Glassdoor by The Finance Story team.
Are there opportunities for career growth in the Cayman Islands for Finance professionals?
There isn’t much scope for Finance Professionals in the manufacturing industry as everything right from milk, to IT services in the country is either imported or outsourced. But there are plenty of opportunities in the professional services sector.
As far as career growth is concerned, it depends on the company.
If you join the Auditing division of any of the Big 4s you would notice a common hierarchy.
- Analyst / Associate
- Senior Consultant
- Senior Manager
Some companies may hire you with a probation period. The timeframe ranges from three months or six months and sometimes goes up to a year. This is the period during which you would understand company policies, responsibilities and rules.
If the company wants to continue with you they would reach out at the end of the probation period, offering you a higher salary, promotions, and benefits. But it is not guaranteed.
Once you finish your contract you can always move to the industry or work as an independent auditor.
I have seen many of my colleagues move to New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Michigan, and Detroit. Some of them moved there through internal transfers.
What are the cons of living and working in the Cayman Islands?
Every country has its pros and cons, hence it is suggested that you weigh both of those before making the move.
- The cost of living in the Cayman Islands is very high, the housing being the biggest money eater.
- Expats may suffer from Island Fatigue after 5-6 years. (Boredom or irritability resulting from long confinement to a small island, with nothing much to do). This is one of the reasons why the Cayman Islands has a high attrition rate.
- Almost everything is imported.
- The majority of the islands are closed on Sundays and supermarkets don’t usually stay open after 9 pm.
- There is no direct flight to India, or any other major countries in the world such as the UK, or UAE. You have to fly to JFK - John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City to get to those destinations.
- Employers may or may not pay for your relocation expenses.
Q. What is the best time to look for Jobs in the Cayman Islands?
Ans. Audit and Tax Professionals become busy with the workload once the financial year begins on 1st January. There are a lot of deadlines they have to meet between January to May. That is why the period between June to September would be ideal for job searching.
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